Ed Sheeran is coming to town on Wednesday, October 31. The show is for 7 p.m., and tickets start at $20.
In celebration of his third studio album, Divide, Ed Sheeran has been on a record-breaking worldwide tour with a staggering number of shows. The tour began in Turin, Italy, on March 16, 2017, and, as of now, will end March 27, 2019.
Divide was released on March 3, 2017, through Asylum and Atlantic Records. It sold 672,000 units in its first week, which made it the fastest-selling album by a male artist in the UK.
“Shape of You” topped the Hot 100 upon its release in January, and sales and streams didn’t slow throughout the year. Other singles such as “Galway Girl,” “Castle on the Hill,” and “Perfect” kept the fans coming back.
His smash-hit machine of a career was recognized on a governmental level, and in 2017, Sheeran was awarded the MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire), a prestigious and respected distinction given to standout British citizens who make significant contributions to the arts and sciences.
But success wasn’t always Sheeran’s forte.
Life can be tough for a young ginger boy with huge glasses and a stutter, and Sheeran felt the full brunt of his classmates’ ridicule. “I tried speaking up in class, and when I put up my hand, my mouth would freeze, and I couldn’t speak,” Sheeran said.
It was his love of music that helped him through his tough childhood, and he cites Eminem’s The Marshall Mathers LP as having helped him conquer his stutter as he rapped along with the American artist. “Playing guitar in my room was the only time I felt in control,” he said.
After singing in a church choir and going to shows with his dad for years, he decided to take the leap and move to London in 2008 to kickstart his professional career in music. He played small shows across the city for a long time and eventually began tackling larger and more high-profile gigs in the music and entertainment scene. In April 2008, he opened for Nizlopi, an English folk duo, and went on tour with Just Jack, an alternative artist.
By 2010, Sheeran’s popularity started to rise exponentially, thanks to YouTube exposure. He started releasing EPs such as Ed Sheeran: Live at Bedford and Songs I Wrote with Amy. In 2010, Jamie Foxx asked him to play at his club in Los Angeles, an event which ended with an invitation to record in Foxx’s personal home studio.
In 2011, Sheeran put out No. 5 Collaborations Project and subsequently found his name second on the iTunes chart without any professional promotion or representation at all. A few months later, Sheeran put on a show to promote that EP, and over a thousand fans showed up. Sheeran played multiple shows that night to make sure everyone got to hear him, including a performance outside on the street after the venue closed. It wasn’t long after that Sheeran was signed to Asylum Records.
Ed Sheeran has since experienced great success in the music industry. “Thinking Out Loud,” a song from his album x, won a Grammy Award for Song of the Year in 2016. His current album Divide won a Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Album earlier in 2018, and he won another Grammy for Best Pop Solo Performance with “The Shape of You” and “Thinking Out Loud” in 2016 and 2018—and the list goes on and on.
Sheeran has also worked in the film industry, appearing in movies such as The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and Bridget Jones’s Baby.
It’s with this Divide Tour that he keeps the hot streak going.
So far, it has been a tour that reflects the wild success, both critically and statistically, of the album, with each track having millions upon millions of daily plays on Spotify.
The tour has broken several records since its start in 2017, notably in Australia. The Australasian (Australia + New Zealand) leg of his tour kicked off in Perth, and ticket sales well surpassed a million. The tour also holds the record for highest number of shows on one tour, the highest cumulative attendance for one tour, and the highest attendance for a single show (all Australasian records).
The tour also boasts 300,000 tickets sold across Cork, Belfast, Galway, and Dublin in a single day, a record for Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
Sheeran last performed in New Orleans at Jazz Fest in 2015, drawing an enormous crowd to the Gentilly Stage with nothing more than a guitar and a loop pedal.
His huge success begs the question: What makes his music so irresistible?
According to a Billboard article that interviewed three superfans, or “Sheerios,” it all comes down to his genuine demeanor and lyrics. Fans seem to be able to relate to him on a different level than most other artists. The three fans interviewed by Billboard all ended up agreeing that his “famous-overnight” vibe and his simple, timeless, acoustic riffs are no façade and are reflective of a person who doesn’t write to the masses. Rather, they reflect a person who loves what he does and largely does it for himself, all the while maintaining a polite and respectful persona that is, thus far, untainted by fame. It also doesn’t hurt that his tracks are catchy.
So, if you haven’t booked those tickets yet, why not see what all the hype is about? Hop on the Sheeran train this Halloween.
Ed Sheeran plays the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, Wednesday, October 31, 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at ticketmaster.com.
Photos by Atlantic Records